Sunday, March 18, 2012

herringbone pullover

I finally had some time today to take some photos of the finished pullover. The fit is perfect, and the only minor change I made was to add one more decrease (and increase) to the waist shaping. It was my first time knitting with Cascade 220, a very popular yarn among the knitting community, and so far I'm quite pleased with it. Let's see how it holds up after I've used it a few times.

Pattern: Hollywood herringbone pullover, by Kate Gagnon Osborn (from Knitscene Fall 2009)
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers (3.5 skeins of grey and 0.5 skein of brown)
Needles: 5 mm
Size: 34

More details on the Ravelry project page

Friday, March 16, 2012

wip :: icelandic star

The herringbone pullover is blocked but I still need to sew the buttons on, maybe this weekend I'll be able to take some photos to share. I have to say it's looking so much better now, I'm always marveled at how much a good blocking can accomplish.

And I started a new project, another pattern I had on my queue since the end of 2009 apparently, and using the yarn I bought in Iceland the year before. What drew me to this project were the colors, I just love this combination of red, blue, grey and golden yellow. The Lett-Lopi yarn seems scratchy but when knitted up it looks wonderful (and feels softer somehow).

I'm knitting the smallest size, which might be a mistake, but the next size up seemed too big. I'm a loose knitter anyway, and I think the yarn might stretch a bit with blocking if needed. I'm not planning any changes, maybe except making it a bit longer, I hate it when my cardigans end up too short. And after a lot of hesitation and reading all project notes on Ravelry I decided to follow the pattern as is (i.e. , knitting it flat)  despite many suggestions that purling colorwork is a nightmare and that it would be easier to knit it in the round and then steeking it. Well, I'm done with the bottom colorwork now and I have to say that the purling rows were almost quite as easy as the knit ones. But I purl the Portuguese way (with the yarn around my neck) so I was able to hold one color on my right hand and the other with my left, which made it fairly straightforward.

And the week after next we're going to Lake Garda in northern Italy. A. has a conference there so we decided to make it into a mini vacation for the whole family. We're visiting Trento, Bolzano, driving around the Dolomites and then spending a few days in Riva del Garda. So any suggestions for good places to eat and any decent yarn shops are very welcome, please :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

on mosaic knitting

Yesterday I finished a sweater !
It's this sweater, by the way. I've had it on my queue for two years (and had the yarn on stash for just as long), and I managed to knit it in just under a month. I have no finished photos yet, it still needs blocking and some buttons to be sewn, but I thought I'd give a small explanation on a very interesting technique I learned while doing this project.

It's called mosaic knitting. Now I've been knitting for a few years and had never heard about it till I started this sweater, so my guess is that it might not be exactly common knowledge.
Basically it's a very simple method of knitting colorwork. You work with two strands of different colors, but you only use one at each time, meaning you work one right side and one wrong side row in each color, alternating every two rows.

When I started the front of this sweater I had a hard time understanding this at first. The pattern itself doesn't explain it, and while trying to follow the chart that was provided I probably frogged those first couple of rows a dozen times till I decided to use mr. google and clarify this mystery.

So the technique itself is actually very simple, once you get the hang of it. Starting with color A, for example, you follow the chart by knitting all the stitches in that color, and slipping all the stitches - keeping the yarn in the back -  in the alternate color (color B). On the wrong side, you do the same: purl all the stitches that were knit and slip the ones that were slipped (which means that each slipped stitch is actually slipped twice) with the yarn in front. On the next right side row, you change to color B and work the next two rows just the same, following the chart.

This is how the reverse side looks like ...

And basically that's it. You don't have to fiddle with two different strands as you would in regular colorwork, and it is very quick to knit once you understand the rules. This herringbone pattern in particular was easy to memorize, which is very useful when you're doing shaping with several increases and decreases (which the original pattern didn't specify but I decided to add in).

More details on mosaic knitting here and here.